EDWARDSVILLE – The Ninian Edwards Statue and plaza have been a source of controversy since early this past summer.

An upcoming community educational forum will give attendees a deeper understanding and appreciation of the issues at hand.

What: Beyond the Bronze: The Ninian Edwards Statue in Context

When: 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Where: This is an online-only event, virtually hosted via Zoom by SIUE's Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Center. Register at BeyondTheBronze.OurEdwardsville.com


Sponsors: Our Edwardsville; League of Women Voters of Edwardsville

Moderator: Rachel Tompkins, League of Women Voters of Edwardsville


  • Jeff Edison (former assistant director of the Stephenson House, Historical & Museum Studies MA graduate with expertise in public history and slavery in this region)
  • Brian "Fox" Ellis (public historian, educator, and performer, with expertise on indigenous history in this region and Edwards' relationship to this history)
  • Dr. Flo Maatita (SIUE sociology professor, expertise in sociology of race)
  • Alderman SJ Morrison (4th Ward Alderman for the City of Edwardsville, serves on the city's Administrative & Community Services Committee)
  • Dr. Katie Poole-Jones (SIUE art history professor, specializes in monuments)
  • Herman Shaw (president of the Lincoln School Alumni Foundation, longtime community leader with familiarity on Edwardsville race relations)

Panelists with a range of expertise will give opening remarks with background information on issues related to the statue. The panelists will discuss the city's history and role in creating the plaza and commissioning the statue as well as the city's current conversations around them; the history of slavery, indentured servitude, and indigenous people in southern Illinois and how Ninian Edwards fits into that history; what monuments symbolize and how communities publicly present history; and why this issue has generated such strong feelings, including how it fits into larger discussions on race in Edwardsville and our society. Following opening remarks, the forum will be open for Q&A.

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